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GTK LTO Battery by ShenZhen Facewell on AliExpress.com

18-May-2020

If you're thinking of making a purchase for an LTO battery from a place like Aliexpress, I'd strongly suggest you think twice about it.

I bought a 48V 40ah battery - and it's been a bad experience.  Battery didn't work properly: had much lower voltage and capacity than advertised.

Upon opening the battery to look for obvious issues (broken wire or ???), I find the cells inside are dated...  22-May-2016!!!  

My AliExpress dispute went poorly, my appeal ignored, and because of the extremely lengthy delivery time, I couldn't open another dispute.  Jeez.  Thanks AliExpress.  My days of dealing with you have just come to an end.

Product link:  https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000529784733.html

I'll write a WHOLE PILE MORE about this long sordid tale soon, so please check back.

Update 28-May-2020:  Seems I'm not the only one who's had trouble with GTK LTO batteries from Shenzhen Facewell or Shenzhen Fuxiang (name has changed) on AliExpress.com:

https://tolnix.com/lithium-titanate-66160-battery-review-fake-lto/

 

When Ticks Come Out In Ontario

When do ticks first emerge in Ontario?

Probably the most common tick in Ontario is the black-legged tick or deer tick.  When these ticks emerge will depend on how cold the winter was and how warm the spring is.

Obviously Ontario is a large place with many different climatic areas so the timeframe will be different depending on where you are.

As such, it makes sense to use a "marker" to tell us when we need to begin to be on the watch. 

In this case, a good proxy:  once the dandelions start to emerge is when ticks seem to become active.

Ticks are of concern of course because they can spread Lyme disease.

If you are outside and especially if you visit a wooded area, you should scan yourself for ticks upon your return home.  They tend to like warm folds on the body e.g. armpits.

If you find one, you should remove it within 24 hours to minimize your risk of Lyme.  It is best to pry off the tick using a tick remover.

Not only do you need to watch out for yourself, but also your pets.  Dogs in particular are prone and should be scanned regularly.

The image at the top was taken on 1-May-2020 about 1 hour north of Toronto, Canada.

 

The Real Reasons Why Things are Out of Stock Right Now

The covid virus has caused many folks to be shut in to their homes and wait for safer times to venture out. 

That said, most of us will still have to brave the supermarket to get food and the basic necessities.  Although there are suddenly no more mouths to feed, whey are their shortages at the at the supermarket right now?

1)  Psychological - when folks sense that tougher times are on the horizon, they strive to make sure they have the basics that they need while it's available and they have the money to get it.

2)  Practical - every time you come in contact with someone, you increase the odds of getting infected.  It therefore makes more sense to buy more than you normally would so you can ultimately make fewer trips to the grocery store.

3)  Unexpected - there will be items you need to buy that you wouldn't have considered previously.  Did you buy hyrdogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, bleach, plastic gloves and facemasks much before?  Likely not - and now everybody wants them, so massive net new demand creates the shortages here.

4)  Consumption changes - a big one here is "eating out".  In the past few years, in the USA anyway, people actually spent MORE eating out than they did eating at home.  So a large part of their food budget was spent in restaurants and bars.  Now?  Many of these places are shuttered due to covid.  And what about students?  There are 1000s of lunch programs at schools that provide served meals that are no longer being served because many schools are now shuttered.  People still have to eat, so they are actually going to the store and buying food like they didn't before - once again creating a large amount of demand that wasn't there before.  It will take time for the system to adjust for the fact that huge amounts of prepared food are no longer being consumed at risky restaurants but now in the safety of homes.

5)  Boredom - quite frankly when folks have more time on their hands, most will end up eating and drinking more.  

6)  Direct Processing shutdowns - in the case of some foods, the actual processors have had to shut down or reduce production because their workers are sick or at high risk of getting sick.  We are seeing this now with meat processing plants.  This will likely create some shortages for e.g. beef in the coming months.  As well, some farmers are having difficulty getting seasonal workers to plant, harvest and maintain crops - due to border restrictions or workers concerned about the spread of the virus.  

7)  Reflection - some individuals are trying to deal with the current covid issue by solving multiple problems at once.  To deal with depression, food shortages and helping the planet, many have decided to start growing food.  Gardening will bring in fresh healthy produce regardless of whether there are shortages.  Gardening also provides a worthwhile task that has been proven to reduce depression, and greeehouse gasses - as your produce doesn't come from thousands of miles away so fewer fossil fuels are burned to bring it to your mouth.  

So there you have it.  It all makes sense when you think about it.  A lot of these problems will go away in the next few months. 

Stay Safe.

Joke - Daylight Savings Time - Turning the Clock Back

On the morning that Daylight Savings Time ended I stopped in to visit my aging friend.

 

He was busy covering his penis with black shoe polish.

 

I said to him, "You better get your hearing checked - You're supposed to turn your clock back."

One Cause of Sudden Onset Dementia or Mental Fog

Disclaimer - I am not a medical professional.

 

It never ceases to amaze me some of the small tidbits of information that I've somehow missed as I meander through my life.

This article describes one of those things - specifically what happened when my elderly mother suddenly started repeating herself, asking the same question repeatedly, and couldn't remember something I'd told her about within 10 seconds.

My mother lives alone and is somewhat of a recluse.  She has her pets for company but the only social interaction she manages is when one of her children drops by for a visit.

Because of this and the fact she has some health issues, I asked her to "ping" me every morning - a phonecall, a text, an email etc.

On one of those mornings last week, I called her and was surprised by her confusion about the simplest things.  I thought I'd better go over and check on her.

I arrived to find her babbling, repeating herself, and asking the same question over and over again.  

My first thought was that she'd had a stroke - but after doing some quick tests (from the internet), determined that was probably not the case.

The second thing I did was ask her about her meds.  She'd gone off one of them but upon inspecting her med-minder, I determined that all seemed to be in order.

I debated calling tele-health, but decided with the covid pandemic going on that I'd be in for a long wait.

Then I called my mothers doctor.  I described the situation and the doctor asked an interesting question.  "Has your mother had any issues with urination lately - overly frequent, cloudiness, etc.".

This seemed like a bizarre question, but in thinking back, I recalled my mother mentioning some "burning" in the past few days.

The doctor indicated that the cause could be a urinarty tract infection (UTI) and that she'd write up a script immediately, send it to the pharmacy and that I could go and pick it up in minutes - which of course I did - and immediately administered to my mother.

As it turns out, I have a smart doctor - my mother was "better" in less than an hour.  The next day she was mostly back to normal.

So if you ever notice that someone has suddenly dementia type behaviours or mental foginess and the like, it could very well be caused by (simply) a UTI.

Besides my doctor, who knew?

 

 

 

 

Joke - Kapuskasing and Lady Diana's Visit

A number of years ago, Lady Diana Spencer married Prince Charles.

Subsequently, they decided to go to Canada for a visit.  Lady Diana was just getting used to the idiosyncracies of royal visits.

She learned that she'd be attending a parade in Kapuskasing (Ontario, Canada) that July.

Lady Diana wasn't familiar with Kapuskasing and didn't know what to wear.  She decided to call the queen mummy for some advice.

Now eventhough Canada is very cold in winter, many parts of it are very warm in the summer.

Diana arrived for the parade wearing a decidedly British fox hat.

It was almost 30C (90F degrees) that day, and as she made her way along the parade route she was sweating buckets.  

One of her aides comes up to her and says:  "Ms. Diana.  It's so hot.  Why wear such a warm fur hat"?

Lady Diana  replies:  "The queen mummy recommended it!  I called her up before I came here.  I said I'm going to Kapuskasing for a parade and what should I wear?".

The queen mommy replied:  "Kapuskasing?  Where the focks 'at?"

 

 

 

 

Grape Varieties For Sale in Canada

Looking for a particular variety of grape vine for sale in Canada?  Some ideas below.

Last updated April 2020.  Apologies in advance if product is no longer offered/incorrect.  It was deemed to be correct at time of writing. 

This document is also set up to aid in finding products (Search engine terms) that are sold in Canada.

 

Legend 

GB - Green Barn Farms Quebec Canada - Grape vines for sale Ontario

NC - Nutcracker Nursery Quebec Canada - Grape vines for sale Quebec

TT - T&T Seeds - Grape vines for sale Manitoba

VS - Vignes Chez Soi - Grape vines for sale Quebec

VT - Vine Tech Ontario Canada - Grape vines for sale Ontario

WT - Whiffletree Farm And Nursery Ontario - Grape vines for sale Ontario

 

 

Alphabetical List of Grape Varieties for Sale in Canada

Adalmiina Grape Canada (3b) - VS

Auxxerrois Grape Canada - VT

Baco Noir - VT

Big Blue Grape Canada - GB

Bluebell Grape Canada - WT

Blue Ice Grape Canada - TT

Brianna Grape Canada (4b) - NC,VS,WT

Buffalo Grape Canada - WT

Cabernet Franc Grape Canada - VT

Cabernet Sauvignon Grape Canada - VT

Canadice Grape Canada (5b) - VS

Chambourcin Grape Canada - VT

Canadice Grape Canada - NC

Chardonnay Grape Canaga - VT

Concord Grape Canada - GB,VT,WT

Corvina Grape Canada - VT

Cot Malbec Grape Canada - VT

Earliblue Grape Canada - GB

Edelweiss Grape Canada (5b) - VS

Einset Grape Canada (5b) - VS

Emerald Ice Grape Canada - TT

Fredonia Grape Canada (5a) - VS

Frontenac Blanc Grape Canada - VT

Frontenac Gris Grape Canada - VT

Frontenac Noir Grape Canada - GB,VT

Gamay Noir Grape Canada - VT

Geisenheim Grape Canada - VT

Gewurztraminer Grape Canada - VT

Gruner Veltliner Grape Canada - VT

Himrod Grape Canada (6a) - VS,WT

Interlaken Grape Canada (7a) - VS

Itasca Grape Canada - currently unavailable in Canada as at Oct 2020

Jupiter Grape Canada - WT

Kandiyohi Grape Canada (5a) - VS

Kay Gray Grape Canada (4b) - NC,VS

L'Acadie Blanc Grape Canada - VT

La Crescent Grape Canada - VT

Lemberger Grape Canada - VT

Lucy Kuhlmann Grape Canada - VT

Magenta Grape Canada (4b) - GB,VS

Marechel Foch Grape Canada - VT

Marquette Grape Canada - VT,WT

Melon de Bourgogne Grape Canada - VT

Merlot Grape Canada - VT

Montreal Blue Grape Canada (4b) - NC,GB,VS

Muscat du Quebec Grape Canada - GB

Muscat Hamburg Grape Canada - VT

Muscat New York Grape Canada (6a) - GB,VS

Muscat Ottonel Grape Canada - VT

Muscat Orange Grape Canada - VT

Muscat Osceola Grape Canada (4b) - VS

Neptune Grape Canada - WT

Muscat Osceola Grape Canada (4b) - WT

Ortega Grape Canada - VT

Petite Jewel Grape Canada (5a) - VS

Pionnier Grape Canada (4b) - VS

Pink Pearl Grape Canada - GB

Polar Green Grape Canada - GB

Prairie Star Grape Canada (4b) - NC,VS

Redliance Grape Canada - GB

Reliance Grape Canada (5b) - VS,WT

Roland Grape Canada (3b) - VS

Siegerrebe Grape Canada (5b) - NC, VS

Skookum Grape Canada (6a) - NC,VS

Somerset Grape Canada (3b) - GB, NC,VS,WT

Sovereign Coronation Grape Canada (5b) - GB,VS,WT

Steuben Grape Canada - WT

Suffolk Red Grape Canada - VS

Swenson White Grape Canada (7b) - NC,GB,VS

Swenson Red Grape Canada (5a) - GB,VS,WT

Tango Grape Canada (4b) - GB,VS

Trollhaugen Grape Canada (4b) - NC,VS,WT

Tuscan Grape Canada - GB

Valiant Grape Canada (3b) - VS,WT

Vanessa Grape Canada (5b) - GB,VS,WT

Venus Grape Canada (6b) - VS

 

This page here will give you a quick reference as to how hardy some of these grapes are - and their ability to survive the Canadian winter.

Some of the varieties above are non-standard (not a true named variety) or developed by the vendor.  I decided to include them in the list anyway.

 

Chinese Diesel Air Heater Instructions to Program using the LCD Panel

If you live in or visit a cold environment and have a need for extra heat in your vehicle, RV, bus or even outbuilding, a viable option is a diesel heater.  These are devices that burn diesel fuel to generate heat and all you need with one of these kits is a battery (usually either 12 volt or 24 volt) and some diesel fuel. The burner, mounting kit, fuel tubes, fuel tank, clips, exhaust pipe etc.  are (or can be) included.

One of the best deals on the market currently is the "Chinese Diesel Air Heater".  I purchased mine on AliExpress.com.  It was an 8kw unit with remote as per the picture above.  At the time, I paid approximately $140 USD and free shipping for it.

If you have purchased one and have gone to install it, you will notice that there are NO instructions in the box.  Installation is actually quite straight forward if you're familiar with this type of thing - until you go to use the remote or enter you settings using the LCD panel.  Although there are some videos on Youtube to help, there isn't a quick list (which most of us prefer - especially when were installing it out on the driveway, remote location, when it's -20, etc.) of how to do it...  See below for some for some of the basics.  All below refers to the unit I bought - yours may be different...

First - the kit doesn't come with a battery for the remote.   The required battery for the remote is an A27.  It's a 12V battery.  As it's uncommon, expect to pay about 5$ for it locally.  If you're not in a hurry and smart, you can also order these from aliexpress.com for about 60 cents USD each. 

 

Setting up remote/LCD - image below
Set the Time: Press “settings” (top left), it starts flashing- use arrow keys to adjust. Then “OK”
Timer 1-3: “1 of” appears after timer above – set the “On” and “Off” time as needed.  This will allow your unit to e.g. come on at 6am in the morning to warm things up a bit before you get up.
Hz vs Temp: press top 2 buttons- (“settings” and “Up”) toggles between.  Hz is kind of a bizarre setting - unless it refers to how fast the fan turns by chance.  Most of us will want this in degrees - so you can change this here.
Prime pump – press bottom 2 buttons “OK” and “down arrow”. H Off is showing but press “Up Arrow” to turn “H on”.  Apparently this primes for about 2 minutes and then shuts off.
Current temp – “OK” – shows “small degree symbol”.  The temperature in your van, RV etc. as recognized by the LCD sensor.
Maintain temp (the temp the heater will work up to and keep) – “OK” again – shows “big degree symbol” (you'll see if the difference when you get there).
Battery Level – “OK” again (or 3x from starting i.e. pressing "OK" 3 times assuming you haven't done anything else)
E Settings – are Error Codes - sometimes a light blinking a number of times, or an error e.g. 04 is displayed:

1 - Under voltage of power supply

2 - Over voltage of power supply

3 - Ignition plug failure

4 - Diesel fuel Pump failure (magnetic pump in most kits).  Check to make sure the connector clip is in all the way.

5 - Machine is overheating 

6 - Motor fault

7 - Broken Line Fault

8 - Flame extinguishment


Heater “ON” – press “power button”
Heater “OFF” – press and hold “Power button”
Flashing arrows – air in and out indicator
A few other things explained:

 

Other considerations:

1)  Cold (diesel #1 or 1-D) vs warm (diesel #2 or 2-D) weather - many will be aware that in cold weather you need to use "cold diesel".  Cold diesel will ignite more easily (flows more easily) but contains less energy.

2)  Exhaust temperature - is hot.  If you are putting the exhaust pipe through anything combustable e.g. plywood wall, or fabric in a vehicle, you must protect the combustibles from catching fire.

3)  Collecting waste heat - you can route the exhaust through a heat exchanger to collect some of the waste heat (if you know what you're doing).

4)  What is the right way "up"?  Not sure.  Most pictures show the exhaust and intake to the bottom.  Some show it to the top.  It would appear it doesn't matter.   Normally you'd expect heat gases to be discharged at the top or side - but (perhaps) because they are forced out with a fan, it doesn't matter. 

5)  Muffler - will help to reduce the noise from the exhaust.

6)  Noise - the pump makes a clacking noise - nothing terrible, but I wouldn't want it close by if I was going to try and fall asleep.

7)  Fuel Filter - normally I'd expect to put the fuel filter BEFORE the pump - to help protect the pump.  But that's just me...

 

My Opinion

I've installed and used mine a few times.  It's impressive the amount of heat it throws off (about 25,000 btu at it's highest setting).  It does take about 5 minutes to start generating heat, but once it's up and going, it heated my (small) uninsulated workshop to a usable temperature quite quickly.  I would recommend this unit at the moment - but we'll see how it stands up over time.

 

Installation Pictures and thoughts

Typical diagram from AliExpress:

The fuel pump should be vertical to 45 degrees for best performance.

Mine came with 2 types of fuel line - a thicker rubber chunk and a long thin clear chunk.  Seems you have to insert the thin tube into the thick tube to get it all to work.  Ergo, I cut my rubber chunk into 5 equal pieces and used them:

1)  on the connector to the heater itself

2)  on both ends of the fuel filter

3)  on both ends of the pump

You can then cut the thin clear stuff to bridge these connections.

Fuel tank - to test, I just stuck the fuel line into the jug of diesel fuel...

Priming - after assembling all the host pieces, I then sucked fuel through the line until just before it was filled up - and then stuck the end into the heater unit - save some time/hassle with priming the line.

 

Power Consumption

I put an amp meter on the power line to see how much power the diesel heater draws.  On startup, the max draw was 9.15 amps - so about 110 watts.  Presumably this draw is to run the glow plug to get things going.  This was probably higher draw than the meter showed as the meter only allows up to 10 amps - and the resistance became too high.

The power then seemed to reduce to about 90 (running) watts - but this figure was obtained from my charger and how much wattage it said it was having to put back into the battery bank.  I'll put the amp meter on again when time to get a more accurate reading.

 

Temperature

The heat pipe coming out of the heater (to heat the room) measured a max of 70C.  The highest reading I got for temperature on the exhaust pipe was 213C.  That said, it charred the board it was leaning against (before I protected it).

 

Heat

In terms of heat output, it is quite impressive.  On paper, an 8 kw unit puts out about 25,000 btu.  To put that into perspective, a 1500 watt heater puts out about 5,000 btu.  The heat is nice and "dry" too.

 

Idiosyncracies

Strangely, it appears you can't "set a temperature" that you want the unit to maintain.  For me, it would be cool if I could tell it to keep the workshop at say 10C, but it doesn't do this.  I thought about hooking in a simple thermostat, but then you get into the issue of the power suddenly getting cut while the thing is cranking - and potentially creating a firehazard/damage as the heater can't go through it's cool-down period as it should.  So room for improvement there IMO.

 

Thanks to all who offered tidbits on the NET.  Above are things I've figured out or thought about with the rest provided by others on Youtube and forums.

 I'll try to post a few more helpful pics when I get a moment, but for now, hope this helps.

 

Stihl 661 Chain And Sharpener File 2 in 1

Standard Stihl 661 chainsaw - (if you bought the standard model without changing the bar or sprocket):

The chain you need for a Stihl 661 with a 25 inch bar is: 33RS 84 (84 is the number of links).

The Stihl part number at the moment (February 2020) is: 3623 00X 0084 (where the X would appear to be the Country Code:  2 is Canada and 5 is USA) so for USA the part number is 36230050084. 

The pitch of this chain is: 3/8 inch or 9.32 mm.

The track (gauge) of this chain is: .050 inch or 1.3 mm.

The Stihl 661 chainsaw comes standard (at time of writing) with a 25 " bar with a Stihl part number of (for me anyway) of :  30030008830.  Look for the bar part number on the bar close to the motor.

To see more variations on the chains and bars (Stihl Part Numbers and configurations) or to verify the above, you can try checking here:

As at February 2020, the typical price for this chain would be about $25 USD (currently 2 listings on Ebay, and Amazon for this price).

Note - you can often get a better deal at the Stealership if you are buying 2 or 3 (or more) chains. At one place I called, if you bought 2 they gave you the 3rd free. Another place had 1 chain for $34 USD, but 2 for $48 (24$ each).

And what file is to be used to sharpen our Stihl 33RS 84 chain?  The best Stihl file would appear to be the 2 in one file with the part number:  5605 750 4305.  These are $35 USD at the stealership last I checked.  Note also that this file works with specific models of saws only.  If you have multiple saws, carefully check that this file is compatible with the others in your collection.

The Stihl chain, bar, sharpener equation is a mess - very difficult to get an answer to a simple question of what part, part number, etc.  Hopefully this article helped you quickly figure it out the answer for the Stihl 661.

The source of Home Depot and Lowe's Lumber Finally Discovered stars

Investigative reporter Jeremy Liarens was invited to the plantation where both Home Depot and Lowe's source their lumber.

"I've always wondered where they got their wood from - and it was great to finally see the place where it all starts" Liarens commented.

Forestry expert Rod Thicke described the growing process to Liarens:

"First we find the choicest locations that will ultimately produce the best product.  We need a sunny location where the trees can benefit from maximum solar radiation.  Great soil helps as well".

 

 "on closer inspection, you can see the finished product beginning to take shape":

"Another advantage of our process is that it provides a place for native birds to find a temporary (before the tree is harvested) home":

"and here is a picture of the final product just before harvest":

So there you have it.  How both Lowe's and Home Depot source their wood.  Now we all know.